Anti-reflux surgery, also referred to as fundoplication, is the general method of treatment for those who have gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. For most people, treatment for GERD may consist only of medication and certain lifestyle and dietary changes. But for some individuals, medication and changes to their diet or lifestyle may not be enough. Those who opt for anti-reflux surgery may exhibit a failure to properly respond to drugs or medication or may be experiencing bad side effects from the medicine they are taking. Those who opt for surgery may also want to simply be free from taking medication for the long term.
The basics on anti-reflux surgery
If the anti-reflux surgery is being done for the very first time, it will most likely be done with the use of a laparoscope (laparoscopic surgery). The good aspect about laparoscopic or keyhole surgery is that it is not as invasive as open surgery and the patient has a faster recovery period with less pain after surgery. In anti-reflux surgery, the part of the patient’s stomach which is closest to the entry point to the oesophagus is brought together, wrapped, and then stitched round the oesophagus’ lower end. With this, the pressure at the oesophagus’ lower end is increased, which results in the reduction of acid reflux. This fundoplication procedure is able to produce a particular valve which runs one way only from a person’s oesophagus to their stomach. Anti-reflux surgery usually takes about one to one and a half hours.
Potential complications with anti-reflux surgery
Like other forms of surgery, there will be certain risks with anti-reflux surgery. But these risks are often associated more with the anaesthetic procedure and some general risks or complications after the surgery. As long as the patient is healthy and fit, the anaesthesia should not be an issue, but the services of a proper anaesthetist are, of course, required.
Some general complications that may be associated with anti-reflux surgery include bruising or bleeding around the incisions on the skin, infections in the incisions (usually requiring treatment with antibiotics), or pulmonary embolism/deep vein thrombosis. This condition can develop after a long period of patient immobility, and is more likely to occur in patients who smoke or are overweight. To minimize the risk of pulmonary embolism, patients are advised to become mobile as early as possible and to wear compression stockings.
There may also be some complications which are directly associated with anti-reflux surgery, but these complications are quite rare. These include damage to the stomach, oesophagus, or lining of the lungs and bleeding (more common in open surgery than laparoscopic surgery, however).
After the surgery
After anti-reflux surgery, most patients may exhibit difficulties or problems with swallowing. This is because their oesophagus may be ‘inactive’ for approximately one to two weeks. To combat this, patients simply need to eat food which is only moist or soft, at least for a few days. Patients may also experience some slight bloating of the abdomen as well as flatulence, which is caused by the increase of air in the tummy. To lessen this type of discomfort, patients are advised to avoid drinking carbonated beverages for around eight weeks succeeding the surgery. Other patients experience slight indigestion, which can be curbed by medication, whilst others also experience a feeling of fullness that occurs very quickly after they eat. For this, it is recommended that patients eat only a series of small meals through the day rather than three large meals.
Gallstone surgery London and anti reflux surgery London experts such as the London Surgical Group have performed numerous anti reflux surgery, gallstone, and other laparoscopic surgery procedures for many years. For those looking for the best treatment and care, the London Surgical Group offers both.